Should it really take so long to become a sushi chef? Japanese entrepreneur calls system a scam

Since even before the phenomenally popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi put the idea up on the big screen, there’s been a belief in Japan that it takes a long, long time to become a skilled sushi chef. As a matter of fact, properly preparing slices of raw fish atop morsels of vinegared rice has traditionally been considered such a complex skill that when conveyor belt sushi restaurants and other low-price opportunities to enjoy the dish first appeared in Japan, they were scoffed at by gourmands as “not real sushi.”

But are attitudes changing? Kaitenzushi restaurants, as revolving sushi joints are called in Japanese, are more popular than ever. What’s more, some people are no longer convinced that it’s as difficult to make sushi as the old masters say, including one of Japan’s most famous entrepreneurs, who’s been calling the whole idea that preparing good sushi requires several years of training a scam.

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KFC now has hamburgers in Japan, no chicken or frying involved

Earlier this week, our hearts were Kentucky-fried aflutter over the news that KFC will soon be opening an all-you-can-eat buffet in Osaka. As it turns out, though, that’s not the only big development for the restaurant chain. Right now, the world’s most popular fried chicken outfit has added something to the menu of its Japanese restaurants that we never thought we’d see at KFC: hamburgers!

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Dragon Ball Z English voice actors dish about their early days dubbing at Funimation【Video】

Love it or hate, there’s no doubt that many Dragon Ball Z fans growing up in the United States and other English-speaking countries got their start by watching Funimation’s English dub of the series. Once a staple of Cartoon Network’s weekday Toonami programming lineup back in the early 2000s, hearing the English voices of Goku and Vegeta, played by Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat respectively, is sure to induce a wave of nostalgia for many present-day “kids” now approaching their 30s.

In fact, the two veteran voice actors were recently featured in reddit’s Ask Me Anything series of video interviews. Join us after the jump to hear the duo’s candid thoughts about a variety of topics, including being asked to sign babies’ diapers, texting in Vegeta’s persona, playing pranks with kazoos, and female Super Saiyans!

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Easy-Bake Oven, meet your match — The Easy-Make Ramen that’s, thankfully, not just for kids!

Halloween is over, so we can officially talk about all the presents we want this holiday season! A gift that has always been popular is the Easy-Bake Oven, which is one of the coolest presents ever and a great way to get young ones interested in the joy of cooking.

Baking isn’t an especially big pastime in Japan since very few households have a proper oven, but this product from Mega House is the perfect way to get kids interested and involved with cooking. It probably won’t be just kids clamoring for this kitchen aid either; adults are certainly going to want this as well because it teaches us a skill every grownup gourmand will appreciate: how to make homemade ramen noodles!

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Trouble sleeping? Then let this shrimp pillow cuddle/strangle you to sleep tonight

What’s crucial for a getting a good night’s sleep? For many, a good pillow is key, as a bad one can leave you tossing and turning all night trying to get comfortable and leave you with a crick in your neck the next morning. If you need a little extra support, a neck pillow can be just the addition you need.

But don’t settle for just any old, everyday neck pillow. Get one with flare and style… and shrimp!

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North Korea has developed nuclear-capable missiles capable of hitting the US

North Korea now has a range of ballistic missiles that are thought to be capable of hitting both the US mainland and American interests throughout the Pacific, The Heritage Foundation reports in its 2016 Index of US Military Strength.

The annual report examines the strength of the US military, and also takes into account potential rising threats to the US and its allies from across the world. According to Heritage, the threat from the nuclear-armed, anti-American authoritarian state will only get more complicated in 2016.

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Gintoki tranforms into absolutely adorable Ginko for limited-edition Gintama figure

The anime series Gintama has been having a great season, starting off with a hilarious parody in which main character Gintoki re-enacted shamed Japanese politician Ryutaro Nonomura’s very public bawling session from last year. Then, mid-way through this season, there were a couple of genderbent episodes in which members of the cast were suddenly transformed into the opposite sex, including the cool and masculine Gintoki who became the cute and busty Ginko!

To celebrate the fun of that mini-arc, Premium Bandai is selling 1,000 limited-edition figures of Ginko-chan and we can’t get over how adorable she is!

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It’s that time of year again… when we get to see giant rodents soak blissfully in a hot bath!

In Japan, as many of our readers will no doubt be aware, we love to soak in relaxing hot springs. What we also love to do is to see giant rodents taking a hot bath!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when the capybaras at the Izu Shaboten Park get to enjoy their very own hot spring onsen. It’s been a tradition at the park now for over 30 years, and as far as we can tell, the public hasn’t tired of seeing the rodents looking blissful and relaxed in the warm water.

This year, the bathing ritual of the furry creatures will once again be delighting park visitors as the “Original Capybara Outdoor Hot Bath (Ganso Capybara no Roten-buro)” season begins November 21. Read More

Need a date for Christmas Eve? VR headset lets you share cake with an anime voice actress

Last week we took a look at a new brand of instant curry on sale in Japan that includes a DVD of a sexy model who pretends to be your girlfriend as you eat it. Now, who’s ready for some dessert?

In Japan, it’s not a proper Christmas Eve without a romantic date and some cake, so unattached anime fans will be thrilled to know that one of the industry’s most popular voice actresses is available for a dessert date this year. The only catch?

The date takes place in virtual reality.

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“Is that the real Scarlett Johannson?” Japanese makeup goddess Zawachin amazes yet again

We’ve seen Twitter celebrity Zawachin work her makeup magic before to transform into pretty much any ethnicity or gender. She’s turned into AKB48 members, all the members of Japanese boy band Arashi, and love-them-or-love-to-hate-them British boy band One Direction.

And for Halloween, Zawachin has been blowing netizens’ minds with her pitch-perfect Avengers Black Widow costume. Some are claiming it’s the actual Scarlett Johansson in disguise, but we have the pictures to prove otherwise.

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Japanese netizen travels Japan, takes photos of the country’s many (many) awesome cats【Pics】

Though it may not seem like it, Japan is actually a fairly sizable country, with a lot of ground for sightseers to cover. It’s so big, in fact, we imagine it’d be difficult to a regular tourist to see all of it.

But what if you grew up in Japan and spent all your free time traveling around the country? Well, in that case, we bet you’d get to see a whole lot more of it, and for one Japanese Internet user, that exactly describes their life—but with one very cool addition. It turns out this anonymous traveler loves to take photos of cats at their various destinations.

Check out the awesome and adorable photo album below!

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New magazine features behind the scenes stories of manga stars’ careers, DVDs of them at work

Japanese publisher Shueisha puts out a number of manga anthologies, but by far the jewel in the publisher’s crown, and really the entire Japanese comics industry, is Weekly Shonen Jump. For decades, the magazine has been home to the biggest manga hits, whose creators achieve legendary status in the hearts of legions of fans.

As a matter of fact, so many of Japan’s best-loved manga writers and artists achieved fame through Weekly Shonen Jump that Shueisha is getting self-referential with a new magazine set to launch soon, in which each issue highlights a different manga artist and comes bundled with a DVD of the creator at work and tracing paper so you can try to duplicate the results.

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See a whole other side of Kyoto in this beautiful, quintessentially Japanese train, coming soon

With all the sights, sounds, and history Kyoto City has to offer, from the Golden Pavilion to the thousands of torii shrine gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, most people forget that there is much more to Kyoto outside of the bustling capital city. Kyoto Prefecture actually reaches farther north, with its northernmost cities bordering the ocean on the Sea of Japan side, earning the area the nickname “Umi no Kyoto“, literally meaning “Kyoto of the Sea”.

For travelers looking to explore more than the usual tourist spots, there are trains departing from Kyoto Station which will take you for a scenic ride through the northern part of the prefecture to view other famous sites such as the beautiful Amanohashidate land bridge in Miyazu City. And now, Japan Railway (JR) has teamed up with a well-known designer to make the travel experience much more unique in this old-style Umi no Kyoto-themed train, set for departure soon!

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Robot Pepper rocks out with Asian Kung-Fu Generation

Two members of the Japanese rock band Asian Kung-Fu Generation (Bleach, Fullmetal AlchemistNaruto) recorded a practice session recently with an unusual musical guest: Pepper, a robot who can detect and interpret human emotions. It can also provide beats, and did so for Gotch (who plays guitar and prefers a rock tempo) and Tamaki Roy (who raps and prefers a hip-hop beat).

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Cute Levi imposter wins over Japanese Twitter

Attack on Titan fans who pre-ordered the new Levi figure by Good Smile were no doubt super-excited when orders started shipping last month. But one buyer, who goes by the username @Levi_Eren_Karin on Twitter, couldn’t help but tweet about her surprise when the contents inside weren’t quite what she had been expecting

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Superdry: The “Japanese” fashion brand that most Japanese people have never even heard of

Recently, our Japanese writer P.K. Sanjun was visiting Australia on official RocketNews24 business when he noticed something odd. Every now and then, he would spot a person with a T-shirt or bag with incomprehensible Japanese written on it.

Originally thinking this was just the work of some bootleggers working a local flea market, P.K. was shocked to later learn that Superdry was a fashion brand that sells all over the world…all over except for Japan, that is.

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Japanese meat-lovers celebrating their birthdays with crazy literal beefcakes

Let’s play a little word association game. When I say “birthday,” what’s the next word that comes to mind?

For everyone who said “suit,” well, we’ve always suspected that at least a handful of people at any given moment are reading RocketNews24 while completely nude. Still, I’m guessing that far more of you thought of birthday parties and birthday cakes, which tend to go hand in hand. But what do you make the centerpiece of your birthday celebration edibles if sweets aren’t your thing?

Simple: you get a cake made of meat, like these carnivorous Japanese citizens.

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Temples, views and whiskey — TripAdvisor releases its Top 20 “Free Attractions in Japan” in 2015

Aren’t the words “free entry,” “costs nothing,” and “0 yen” exciting to hear? I think we can all agree that there’s nothing better than a good deal, especially when that deal happens to be completely, 100% free.

While attractions marked as free may set warning bells ringing for some people, Japan has plenty of high-quality, worthwhile places to visit that are such a blast, you actually wouldn’t mind paying money for admission—except that they really do cost absolutely nothing to enter!

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We pig out at Aizuya, the Michelin Guide-featured takoyaki shop

In Japan, takoyaki (somewhat unappealingly translated as “octopus balls”) is known as “B-Class Gourmet” food. Takoyaki is the domain of sometimes shady street vendors and national chains where there are literally no chairs whatsoever on the premises. They’re meant to be consumed while still blazing hot, fresh off the special cratered griddle used to make them, chewed and swallowed at lightning speed while you suck in air to make them just cool enough that they don’t burn a hole in your esophagus on the way down.

Therefore, takoyaki is not, one would think, within the purview of the Michelin tire company’s prestigious Michelin Guide for world-renowned restaurants. But, surprisingly, the 2016 Michelin Guide contains not just one but several restaurants specializing in takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and other “B-Class Gourmet” foods famous around Osaka and the Kansai area.

One of those featured restaurants, Aizuya, is, it turns out, actually rumored to be the restaurant that flat-out invented takoyaki. And since that sounds like a good premise for an article, and gives us an excuse to stuff our faces with this delicious local street food, we went to check it out.

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The cutest, must-have bento lunchboxes you can buy and eat on the train

Japanese often say that a good view makes a meal taste better, so it goes without saying that a cute-looking lunchbox would also enhance the contents inside. From meals served in Shinkansen-shaped containers or rabbit-faced boxes that can be reused as coin banks, to lunch boxes that play music or have collector’s items hidden inside, Japan’s ekiben take Japanese food to a whole new level.

Today we’d like to tell you about “Ekiben”, a little book by Aki Tomura which introduces the best and most unique train station lunch boxes in Japan. We’ve chosen just a few to highlight from this gorgeously photographed, pocket-size book. The word Ekiben is a combination of two Japanese words: eki (station) and bento (lunchbox), so make your next train trip a gourmet ride with these bento available at various JR stations—just waiting for you to buy, smile, and devour.

Let the fun begin!

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